Label: Re-Up, Star Trak, Jive

Hell hath no fury like a rapper scorned. Four years after the release of their successful debut effort, the Brothers Thornton had all but lost the sense of optimism that comes from a platinum album. Hell Hath No Fury is hopeless, dark, and cold. Even on the more pop-leaning tracks, like the buzzing "Trill," or "Wamp Wamp (What It Do)"—on which Pusha raps "Ask what I feel? Nada"—you get the sense that these two are never smiling. Even the boasts and brags ("I ain't spend one rap dollar in three years, holla") are delivered with a sense of grimness.

Pusha T and Malice had something to prove. All but written off by the game that welcomed them less than half a decade ago, the Clipse hit the studio with The Neptunes to craft a measured meditation on the pitfalls of success—What happens when your main hustle is taken away from you? How to manage when your back is against the wall and those who were supposed to be on your side suddenly turn against you? It's enough to give one nightmares, but these guys turned it into beautiful music.